by Rob and Katie Vogels (who have taken up the honourable task to make these ‘Clinton Kwaak Memorial Pages’ on Back to Normandy.)

by Rob and Katie Vogels (who have taken up the honourable task to make these ‘Clinton Kwaak Memorial Pages’ on Back to Normandy.)


 Technical Corporal (TEC5) Clinton Kwaak died from his wounds received in action on D-Day in France. He was born in Sayville New York on December 24 1924, the son of Mr. and Mrs.Edward Kwaak of Patchogue, N.Y.

Corporal Kwaak lived nearly all his life in West Sayville before he enlisted in the Army and was employed in Radio City, New York.

In February 1943 he joined the colors and became a radio operator after three months of training.

He was sent overseas to Africa, then was transferred to Sicily, Trinidad and England. On D-Day, June 6th 1944, while serving with the 1st Signal Company of the 1st Infantry Division, Corporal Kwaak was critically wounded in France. He was transferred to an English hospital were he died.

He is buried at Plot G, Row 26 in Grave 8 of the Normandy American Cemetery at St.Laurent-sur-Mere. He was awarded the purple Heart.









Photo: “The "yellow" star on the picture denotes killed in action.

Actually, it is a gold star that appears as a yellow one”.

 Rob and Katie: This is the e-mail we received that tells us what happened to Clinton Kwaak on D-Day. You can imagine how proud we were to have this.



Dear Katie,

I am Lovern "Jerry" Nauss, the Secretary to the First Signal Company Society 1939-45. I am in charge of planning the reunions and keeping the roster current. Our men are rapidly losing contact with me because they are too ill or have died. I, myself, have just resigned from being the Secretary as I cannot keep up with all of the other things I am involved in.

Now as to your questions concerning Clinton Kwaak. I did not know him personally but I do know his Sergeant - Saul Galansky. Saul lives in Colorado.

Saul was a Radio Crew Chief. His crew consisted himself, Corporal (T/5) Alphonse Arsenault, Corporal (T/5) Clinton Kwaak and PFC John LaGrutta. Only Saul Galansky is living today and he has had his left leg amputated recently and is in an assisted living institution. Saul's crew was assigned to the 116th Regiment of the 29th Infantry Division for D-day. They were the liaison with the 1st Infantry Division which was the lead assault division on Omaha Beach for the invasion. That arrangement was for D-day only and the crew came back to the 1st Signal Company of the 1st Infantry Division.

As the crew came off the beach, they began to get up the steep incline, Sgt Galansky in the lead,when Clinton stepped on a mine. His legs were badly hurt, he could not walk. John LaGrutta was in back of Clinton and was also hit by the shrapnel, but not seriously.

When Saul saw that Clinton was hit he went back and told Clinton that he would get the Medics to treat his wounds. Sgt Galansky got some morphine from the Medics and administered it to Clinton. He told Clinton that he would get the Medics and come back to him. He did this and told Clinton that he looked OK and asked if he was in pain. Clinton said that he could tolerate it so far now that he had the morphine. Sgt Galansky then went back up the incline; Clinton died and John LaGrutta went back to the beach and ended up in a hospital.

By the way, T/5 stands for Technician 5th grade, a rank of Corporal. And also, most all military personnel did not favor President Clinton. I hope this will give you a bit more information than that which you have. Could you please e-mail me the address of Clinton's relatives? Thank you.

As an aside, I plan to go to Europe next June for the 60th anniversary of D-day. I went all the way through the war with the 1st Inf. Div.; Normandy, Belgium, Aachen, Hurtgen Forest, Battle of the Bulge, Central Germany, crossed the Rhine, Central Germany and as far as Czechoslovakia. Next year's tour will take us to Herve (the Remember Museum) and Aachen. I hope to see my friend from La Calamine there.

That is all for now.


End quote

 This is another mail we received that tells us what happened to Clinton Kwaak on D-Day.There must have been something special with Clinton Kwaak that made this level of detail possible.



Just a few more facts concerning Clinton Kwaak on D-Day:

Crew Chief; Sgt. Saul Galansky came on Omaha Beach with the 6th wave on Dog Green, which was in front of Vierville-sur-Mer. This was the beach sector of the 116th Regiment of the 29th Infantry Division They left the LST approximately 10 A.M. Arsenault drove the radio vehicle. That is about all I have (which is a lot more that I have for most of the other guys.

Good luck,

End quote

 Update From: ‘Troubleshooting All the Way

On page 70-71 Jerry wrote what happened to Clinton Kwaak:


Another member of the Radio Section, crew chief Sergeant Saul Galansky, shared his story of his D-Day assault on Normandy. Saul and his crew of three had been attached to the 116th Regiment of the 29th Infantry Division for the initial landing at Omaha Beach. The members of this crew were Technicians Fifth Class Alphonse Arsenault (read more about him) and Clinton Kwaak, and Private First Class John La Grutta. Kwaak and La Grutta were injured at the beach area. Kwaak’s wounds were severe that he could not continue up the ridge. When Galansky reached the top of the incline, he met a doctor from the Medical Corps and asked him to tend to Kwaak. The doctor asked Galansky several questions concerning Kwaak’s injuries and informed Galansky there was no hope for Kwaak’s recovery. When Saul Galansky heard the physician’s prognosis, he want back down to Kwaak and gave him some morphine to ease the pain. Shortly thereafter, Clinton Kwaak died in Sergeant Galansky’s arms.

End quote

by Sharon Kwaak

Clinton Kwaak died on D-Day when he stepped on a land mine on Omaha Beach. He was a radio technician in the Army's 1st Division. He was a corporal. He was 19 years old. "He was my great-uncle," said 17-year-old Sharon Kwaak of North Babylon, who as a seventh-grader in Sayville began assembling a family tree and discovered she had a relative who was killed on the day the Allies invaded Europe. She also realized an uncle and a cousin were named after him to preserve his memory. The family tree shows Clinton Kwaak was born the day before Christmas in 1924. He grew up in West Sayville as one of seven children in a family that made a living as baymen.

Kwaak enlisted in the Army in February, 1943, and served in North Africa and Sicily before being assigned to the Normandy invasion. His only surviving sister, Elizabeth Cooper of Florida, once described her brother as an "impeccable dresser" who played the saxophone and guitar, and worked at Radio City Music Hall before entering the Army. He once wrote to her that he liked the Army, but thought the killing was inhumane. She inherited his posthumously awarded Purple Heart.

Photo: Rolestone Avenue, West Sayville N.Y. The house of the Kwaak-family was supposed to be here.

 By an e-mail and some pictures of Mr. George J. Munckenbeck, Ex-Captain of the West Sayville Fire Department

Clinton Kwaak was a resident of our community West Sayville and we have a small war memorial outside the firehouse with his name on it. Our Junior Fire Department is gathering information on the members of our community who did not come home for their newsletter and the Fire Department's records and web site. We would welcome the opportunity to include some of the information off your site. By the way, the nickname of the WSFD is "The Flying Dutchmen." By the way there is another Kwaak on the monument. A number of his distant cousins still reside here and a few of my Junior fire fighters are related to him in some way.

Memorial at West Sayville
Clinton remembered after 60 years

Honorlist of dead and missing, state of New York


Clinton remembered in the book Troubleshooting All the way.

A memoir of the 1st Signal Company and Combat Telephone Communications in the 1st Infantry Division, 1944-1945’ By Lovern “Jerry”Nauss



A colleague of Clinton Kwaak


 The famous picture of a man named Alphonse Arsenault who was on actually the same team as Clinton Kwaak.


“All of a sudden the picture came up with the men in the raft and when he lifted his head up My heart was beating out of my chest. I knew it was him. I ordered the film. I played it back and he was in the water and then picked up in the raft. He is on the right hand side holding the wounded man up. Then I put the video in for my sisters and said nothing and then I slowed down the tape and my sisters started to cry and said that's daddy.”

 I wrote an e-email to Mrs. Suzanne Viger, the daughter of Alphonse Arsenault. She sent me the next picture.

He is in the second row 3rd man left to the left. (Ft. Monmouth, New Jersey)


 On June 6th 1994, 06.30 a.m. I was standing on Omaha Beach, Normandy. It was a very impressive moment for me. Standing on the exact same place, at the exact same time 50 years later. On a statue near the Normandy American Cemetery St. Laurent-sur-Mer, I found the name of Clinton C. Kwaak. For no particular reason my attention was drawn to this name. Since then Clinton C. Kwaak has been the name of the person that more or less represents for me all other men who fought those days on these French beaches. It is almost sixty years ago. Like many other people we would like to show our respect and gratitude to the men of the allied forces who fought and died during D-Day and the entire World War II.

In one of the e-mails we received someone said: “I am sorry that I cannot add any great detail to you regarding Kwaak. He is one of the many thousands who gave the supreme sacrifice, his life...hopefully it was not for naught.”

We truly say that they did not. Why in this way? We have chosen to stay as close as possible to the mails and other information we received. We try to avoid to use effects, only for the effect of it. Some of the e-mails published on this site are copied entirely with all the little mistakes that someone could find in them. We respect everyone who has contributed to this site and therefore we will not make any corrections. This would only lead to a lack of authenticity.

Rob and Katie Vogels

We are Rob Vogels and his sister Katie Vogels from the Netherlands. Katie and Rob have taken up the honourable task to make a ‘Clinton Kwaak Memorial Site’. Rob has started this quest. See here their original website.

First together with his brother Fred Vogels (webmaster Back to Normandy). In September 2003 we decided to go our own ways. Fred went on with ‘Back to Normandy’. In October 2012 this memorable quest for Clinton Kwaak is published on Back to Normandy.

 Without the help of Jerry Nauss (The First Signal Company Society 1939-45, and) we could not have accomplished this. We owe Jerry a lot.

Here you can read his story:

Rob, Yes, call me Jerry. The "yellow" star on the picture denotes killed in action. Actually, it is a gold star that appears as a yellow one.

I am happy to have been a help to you in this endeavour. I am the Secretary of our company; The First Signal Company Society 1939-45, and have the picture albums that have been kept over the years by persons in charge of the organization. We are disbanding after last week's annual reunion (Arlington, VA) as there were only 10 veterans in attendance. I resigned my position as of Oct. 15, 2003. That was a sad time for me.

Anyway, I looked over all the albums that had pictures up to and including the invasion at Normandy. Can you imagine my surprise and glee when I saw the picture? The picture was placed there by Chuck Beery who was instrumental in keeping a pictorial record of the company personnel prior to and during war time. He has since deceased but has a daughter that is very interested in keeping our organization going.

These albums are huge and I will place them in the library of the 1st Infantry Division Museum that is located in Wheaton, IL (a suburb of Chicago). It is a remarkable museum. Should you ever come near Chicago, don't miss seeing it. You will, at one point, be "seated in a LCI (Landing Craft Infantry just as Clinton was) and when the gate drops down you will be facing Omaha Beach with the shells dropping in the water and ours exploding on and above the beach.

Now, for some information about you. Clinton came from New York state. How is it that you people are in the Netherlands? Was it Clinton's father that came to the USA? All of you seem well grounded in the English language, was it a 2nd language that you learned in school?

This has been enjoyable for me. I am in contact with a person in Belgium and hope to see him and his wife if I am able to travel to Europe next June for the 60th D-Day reunion with the 1st Infantry Division Society's tour. It would be great to see you people as well. We will be in Mons, Aachen, Hurtgen Forest, and the Ardennes (Battle of the Bulge area) as well as Paris.

 Lovern ‘Jerry’ Nauss visiting Holland

I am very excited to come to your country in May, 2006. And I am especially pleased that you will meet us at the Museum Wings of Liberation and that you will join our group for dinner at Nijmegen the same day.

Perhaps some people might be interested to know that just recently my book Troubleshooting all the Way has been published by the 1st Infantry Division Foundation and is one of the few books they list as part of their Cantigny Military History Series.

I was a member of the 1st Signal Company, assigned as a telephone line troubleshooter, and participated in all five campaigns from Normandy, Belgium (Battle of Mons), Germany (Aachen/Huertgen Forest), Battle of the Bulge, Germany (again) closing the Ruhr Pocket/Battle of the Harz Mountains, and finally to Czechoslovakia. After that we went to the Nuremburg area as occupation forces. If anyone is interested, the book may be purchased from me, Lovern "Jerry" Nauss; his new e-mail address is: [email protected] The total cost, book, packaged, and shipped is $30.00 USA.

 Cover of the book Troubleshooting All the way

 Back of the book

Kwaak mentioned in the book


 Because of all the contacts in this quest by Rob and Katie, relatives (family) of Clinton Kwaak learned to know each other. Almost a happy end for this remarkable search.